A scene of a sailing boat in calm waters to show that God can calm the storms in our life.
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Introduction:

Hi Friends, in Part 1 of this Bible Study titled “Post COVID-19: Navigating The Future Effectively’, we covered 7 points from 1 Kings 5. The study covers the story behind the building of the temple of the Lord and of Solomon’s treaty with Hiram. (The link is provided at the bottom of this article). The 7 points were:

  • Ask God for unique wisdom
  • Right Partnerships
  • A clear and large vision
  • The power of delegation
  • Right Timing
  • Writing your thoughts down
  • Creating win-win situations

Today, as we conclude this study, I would like to share points 8-12. I pray they will help you to face the challenges ahead with confidence and faith!

8) Develop Skill and Quality – Post COVID-19

“So give orders that cedars of Lebanon be cut for me….You know that we have no one so skilled in felling timber as the Sidonians” (I Kings 5:6)

As Solomon reached out to Hiram for help to build the temple, his request was very specific. He was looking for skillful people who could help with important parts of the huge project. He was also looking for quality products. The work he was outsourcing included,

a) A master craftsman – He was looking for a man skilled in working with gold, silver, bronze, iron, purple, crimson and blue yarn, besides being skilled in engraving. One who could help design the building and possibly train his own craftsmen (See 2 Chronicles 2:7-8). In return, Hiram provided him with the best person from his side of town (2 Chronicles 2:13-14).

b) The best lumberjacks – Solomon knew that the most skillful people for felling timber were the Sidonians (1 Kings 5:6) and that they were part of Hiram’s workforce. He therefore requested for their help, and once again, Hiram gladly obliged (Refer 1 Kings 5:8).

c) Quality Timber – The footnotes in the NIV Study Bible on 1 Kings 5:6, say that the cedars of Lebanon were “Widely used in the ancient Near East in the construction of royal houses and temples”. They were the best and Solomon was clearly looking for the best timber around.

New Skills: Post COVID-19

As we come out of COVID-19 lockdowns, many are still continuing to work on restricted hours, and many more are still operating from home. It may be wise therefore to use some free time you may find (hopefully!!), to further develop a skill you have , or to maybe learn a new skill that will match with the current business trends.

As I mentioned in Part 1 of this Study, I am not writing these thoughts as an expert on business matters, but only as a Pastor. However, according to some articles I have read recently, experts in the business field in Sri Lanka have highlighted many areas of business that they believe would be profitable post COVID-19. A few of of them are: Agriculture, Food production, Food security, Health and nutrition products, Medical equipment (Some garment factories in Sri Lanka have already moved into such production), Delivery services, Printing and packaging, E-Teaching, Technology including Robotics and Rubber products.

There are many more.

If you are therefore struggling with employment uncertainties post COVID-19, it might not be a bad idea to learn a new skill in a business field that is trending. A person or team with skill and quality will not be overlooked for too long!

Illustrations:

a) I got to know recently of a retired friend of mine who is using his knowledge of the English language to teach people online. In the process, the students were improving their English language skills and my friend was earning an income.

b) I also heard of a young person who lost his job during the initial stage of the lockdown. However, since he had developed a skill in producing food items by then, this young man decided to provide certain food items to his neighborhood. Over a short period of time, the demand for his products grew and apparently he runs a food delivery service now!

9) Rewards and Generosity

This is a continuation of the thoughts in point 8.

Hiram was well rewarded for his efforts. According to 1 Kings 5:6, Solomon was willing to pay handsomely for what he needed. In fact, he told Hiram, “My men will work with yours, and I will pay you for your men whatever wages you set”. That’s a great payment scheme!I’m sure you are thinking now, “Boy, I wish I had a boss like Solomon”! I for one can’t help feeling that Solomon also had a generous heart at that time.

There is always a demand for good quality work and I pray that you too will be rewarded well for your skills. In return, do be generous to others. Take good care of those who work with you as well. Our family has personally found over and over again that generosity always opens a path for God to bless us in return.

(To see the video to points 6-9 of this study on your smart phone scan the QR code below)

video 2 navigate

10) The Importance of Family

1 Kings 5:13-14, shows us that Solomon worked out an overseas employment plan for 30,000 of his labor force. Although the crew was possibly part of a conscripted labor force, the plan created a win situation for them and their families. They would receive a one month’s contract for overseas employment (10,000 at a time), helping Hiram’s workforce. After working overseas for one month, they would be allowed to return home for two months. This meant that they could have quality time with their families for the next two months. I think it would have worked well for Solomon’s team because they would not be separated from their families for long periods

Friends, post COVID-19, the demands for our time in our work stations may increase. Some may also want to put in extra hours, either to prove one’s worth to an employer, or to earn an additional income. Whatever you do, please be careful to ensure that your family is not neglected! Here’s a personal quote I sometimes use when speaking to families. It says, “A 4-day vacation in an exotic location is not an adequate solution for constant neglect”!

Keep the necessary balance therefore that will enable you to give quality time to your spouse and children. When your family is happy, it will enable you to be more efficient in your workplace as well.

Your family remains your greatest asset. So, guard your family with all your heart.

11) Creating Efficient Solutions – Post COVID-19

“My men will haul them (the timber) down from Lebanon to the sea, and I will float them in rafts by sea to the place you specify. There I will separate them and you can take them away” (1 Kings 5:9).

Solomon had to find an efficient way to transport all the required timber from its point of origin, to Jerusalem. It would have been a huge task to do so by land. At this point, Hiram came up with a very practical and efficient solution. His workforce would haul the timber down to the seaport of Tyre, from where they would be shipped or floated as rafts to the nearest port in Israel, which was Joppa (2 Chronicles 2:16). At Joppa, the rafts would be dismantled and the logs would then only have to be transported from there to Jerusalem (roughly 33 miles). The plan was creative and worked extremely well.

Israel at that time, was primarily an agricultural country, dependent mainly on land based trade. The NIV Study Bible says, “… Israel dominated the inland trade routes to Tyre, and Tyre was dependent on Israelite agriculture for much of its food… (Notes on 2 Samuel 5:11). Tyre, on the other hand, was a nation efficient in sea commerce. The New International Commentary says, “Tyre … was a rapidly rising power based on sea commerce…”. They were master Mariners who knew the sea well. The plan was therefore exactly what Solomon needed!

New Ventures:

Over time, Solomon and Hiram also put together a partnership in shipping that brought large benefits to the economies of their respective nations. Solomon provided help to build the ships and Hiram provided capable naval officers and seamen (1 Kings 9:26-27, 2 Chronicles 8:18). This shipping partnership possibly included short-term projects as well as long term projects that brought in timber, precious stones, gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks (1 Kings 9:28, 1 Kings 10:11, 1 Kings 10:22 ESV). Some commentators believe that the ships may have come as far as India on their 3-year voyages. Well, if so, I can’t help feeling that they may have even turned up in my nation of Sri Lanka which is right next to Southern India!!

As you face life post COVID-19, ask the Lord to give you practical, efficient solutions in your workplace or in your business. He can give you solutions that will stand out from what others are doing and maybe what nobody even has thought of. Trust Him to open up new ventures that will bring in much success.

12) Don’t Quit – Post COVID-19

“At the end of twenty years, during which Solomon built these two buildings – the temple of the Lord and the royal palace -… (1 Kings 9: 10)

Whatever challenges you may be facing right now, let me conclude this study with this final thought. I want to state this very, very emphatically. Never ever think of quitting! We are in this for the long haul. I am reminded right now of a song recorded in the 1960’s by Ricky Nelson. The title of that country sounding song was titled ‘You Just Can’t Quit’. How true that is.

When Solomon started his building project, he was determined to see it through to completion. In fact, it took 20 years for him to finish the job. He didn’t quit, although it seems like some hard times came along at a later date which possibly soured the relationship between him and Hiram (Refer 1 Kings 9:10-14).

Today’s Reality:

I often hear stories from around the world of people who feel helpless and hopeless over their predicament post COVID-19. Some have lost employment, and others have taken large pay cuts. Some can’t sort out their bank loans, while others can’t see much hope for their business endeavors. It’s leading many to discouragement, depression, and even thoughts of suicide in some instances. Families have also been left devastated.

I’m particularly saddened for those who had worked hard all their lives to build a career, before the virus struck. Many of them had built a stable career, income and work position, but now, all of that seems so uncertain as they face an unpredictable future. It certainly was not what they expected in their latter years. Their retirement plans may have got badly dented.

Whatever situation you may be in however, please do not quit. Trust God to carry you through this difficult time and to bless your future. He surely will.

Illustration:

For many years I worked as a Broadcaster at a radio station. During the first three years however, I didn’t get a single opportunity to work on what is called a ‘prime time shift’ in broadcasting. In frustration one day, I walked up to the lady who was overseeing my work and told her that I was ready to quit. I also indicated that I saw no future for me in staying on at the radio station.

Thankfully, this dear lady refused to allow me to follow through on my decision. She in fact helped me improve my skill by giving of her personal time to train me further. The end result: I enjoyed around 15 more years of fruitful broadcasting at the station, with regular opportunities to work all the ‘prime time shifts’. The experience I gained as a result, has helped me, both, as a preacher, and as a teacher of God’s Word. I’m so glad I didn’t quit!

Conclusion:

That concludes this 12 point study from 1 Kings 5. I pray that the thoughts in this study will help you navigate the future effectively – post COVID-19. God bless you and I would love to hear your story when you do come through the challenges ahead by God’s grace. God bless you abundantly!

To read Part 1 of this study please follow the link below.

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